When you think of David, what qualities come to mind?
Most immediately think of his courage in facing the giant Goliath. We may think of his penitent attitude when confronted with his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. Possibly you think of his passion for God, and his love for God’s Word. Most would think of the tenderhearted Shepherd boy and his poignant Psalms reflecting his spirituality.
The first lesson, however, offered a trait I had not initially considered–A Caring Heart.
The lesson provided several illustrations of how David cared. His care for his father’s charge to protect his sheep. His care for his friend Jonathan. His care for his son Absalom, although he rebelled against him. And his care for the crippled Mephibosheth.
All of these speak to an attitude of concern, consideration, empathy, and regard for the feelings, needs, and interests of others. It also reflects an understanding of personal responsibility either when we’ve been entrusted to a task or have an opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life.
The command to care is found among the various “one another” admonitions in the New Testament. To a church divided into splinter groups with many relationship problems, and lacking empathy and understanding, the apostle Paul issued this exhortation to the Corinthians:
“…that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Cor. 12:25-26)
Caring is a quality that too often is neglected in our hurried and harried lives. Busyness begets a focus on self not always aware of others’ needs. Our inattention may be inadvertent, unintentional, and innocent, yet it’s still hurtful to the one whom we may have ignored.
Sadly, some may simply be indifferent to the predicament and plight of others. “That’s their problem. Not mine,” we may flippantly mumble as we go about our business. George Bernard Shaw succinctly expressed this callous attitude when he wrote, “The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them; that’s the essence of inhumanity.”
Caring, of course, goes beyond mere sentiment or thought. It issues itself in words and in deeds. Have you ever been touched by another’s need and thought, “I want to help”? However, you failed to follow through with any action. The feeling of caring is a good start, but it must find expression in tangible, concrete deeds.
Caring can only occur when we lay aside our selfishness and pride and humbly see life through the lens of our fellow man. The Bible exhorts, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others (Phil. 2:3-4).
When we care…
…We share the benefit of our blessings with those in need (I Tim. 6:18). We know that it is indeed “more blessed to give than to receive (Ax. 20:35).
…We “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). That means being willing to “weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15).
...We dare to do the uncomfortable things that others won’t do. We dare to be different from the world (Rom. 12:1-12) Dare to restore the erring (Gal. 6:1). Dare to speak up for Jesus when others try to silence us (Ax. 5:29).
..We repair ruptured relationships. This means following the command of Jesus to actually go to someone and talk about our differences. And to seek reconciliation (Matt. 5:23-24; 18:15-16).
There are so many opportunities to express our care for others. In our families. In our churches. In our communities. In the workplace. Even in our brief encounters in restaurants, stores, and places of business. In fact, how about demonstrating a caring heart on our social media posts instead of constant, carping criticism?
Leo Buscaglia was right when he wrote, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Let’s renew a caring heart. Then we can be more like David, “a man after God’s own heart”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman